CV Tips for Candidates
Curriculum Vitae from the Latin, the way your life has run’ or meaning life story’
The purpose of a CV is to get you an interview and a meeting with the firm you want to work for a CV alone will not get you a job.
Your CV should reflect how your career to date and your education are suitable for the role you’re applying to. It’s your selling tool essentially it’s how you advertise yourself to a potential employer. So your CV has to be as good as you can make it.
There is no exact format for a CV
Try to keep your CV concise ideally two to four pages long depending on how much experience you have
Have a well laid out CV that is easy to read
It should be written in the first person i.e. I did this, I was responsible for that
The appearance of your CV is a good indication to a potential employer of the type of person you are
- Bullet points work well as long as they are informative
Spell check your CV there is nothing worse than a CV with glaring spelling mistakes
Ask a friend to read your CV to make sure it makes sense
Stick to one font type (preferably Arial or Times New Roman) avoid excessive use of italics, underlining and large, flowery fonts styles, lots of different colours
Make sure the tense of your CV is correct present tense for your current job and past tense for previous roles
Don’t include salary details on the your CV
Aim to use short sentences, as these are easier to read
Be honest especially about academic qualifications as employers (especially within financial services) often ask to see proof of grades.
Be positive remember your CV is your selling tool
Suggested CV Structure
Name/Contact Details this will most likely include your home address, email address and mobile number.
Personal Details – include your date of birth, nationality and marital status.
Profile Paragraph this should be an introductory paragraph about you highlighting your USP (unique selling points) and what kind of role you are interested in. It should be punchy and precise and written in full sentences (rather than bullet points).
Technical / Business Skills include a fairly comprehensive list of the technologies you are familiar with (probably broken down into: development languages, relational databases, operating systems, methodologies and other). Business skills should include a list of the products you have worked with and could happily discuss at interview
Work Experience / Career History
List this in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent first). Include full dates (i.e. January 2001 to March 2013′ rather than 2001 to 2004′), job title / position and company name. Include an overview of your job and try to incorporate your responsibilities and achievements. If some of the companies you have worked for are not well known, it is worth including a brief description of their business.
Academic / Professional Qualifications
This should include A-Levels (and equivalent) with grades and details of any higher education including the institutions you studied at. For example, you can include details of your final year project / dissertation or thesis. Also include details of any relevant professional training you have undertaken
Additional industry knowledge, commercial skills, managerial experience, analytical skills or any foreign languages you speak (and to what level)
Personal Interests – keep this limited (and don’t write anything that may be construed as too wacky or too dull). Also consider what it says about you? E.g. are you a team player or an individual? If you have been involved in any type of volunteer work, do give details
Listing referees on a CV is optional but recommended. List two but make sure the referees are willing to give you a reference. Alternatively you could write Details of referees are available should an offer of employment be made?
There are two main types of CV:
The most common format. Information is included under general headings such as education, work experience, hobbies etc. Your work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order. Make sure there are no gaps in the dates and account fully for any time when you were not working. This CV should be able to highlight your career growth from job to job.
Functional / Skills Based
This lists relevant skills, achievements and responsibilities by topic (rather than in a date order). It can be used when needing to hide gaps in a CV but is not always preferred by recruiters.
Why CV’s can get rejected:
For being too long.
Too much information.
Not enough information.
Unnecessary and irrelevant information.
Grammar and spelling errors.
Badly laid out with lots of different font types.